Presently, the reigning AFC Champs are boasting a last place spot in the AFC West with a 2-3 record, are -11 in turnovers, and the defense giving up an NFL all-time worst 7.1 yards a play.
It seems like the argument for the Chiefs missing the playoffs could end there, but wait, there is more. How about the defense giving up 163 points in five outings, or just over 32 points per game? Or they have surrendered a touchdown on 41% of opponents’ drives? That’s a fun one.
Or that Patrick Mahomes, the great eraser of all things bad, has six interceptions, or the same number he had all of last season and one more than in 2019 in only five games. Convinced?
Many of the Kingdom faithful are still hopeful that the Chiefs will arise from the ashes of their Super Bowl loser cursed start to the supposed “Take it Back” tour. Still many long-time Chiefs fans feel they have watched this all unfold in the countless disappointing seasons prior to the arrival of Reid and later PM 15 and that the Chiefs are back to being, well…… The Chiefs. As in “those Chiefs.”
The ones who had under-performed and disappointed a fan base for decades. The Kingdom has witnessed struggles in the Reid era before and they have gone on to surprise everyone, but this season seems different. Watching their latest “effort” on Sunday Night Football against the Bills was a clear statement of where they are in the AFC hierarchy, not where they once stood.
The Buffalo Bills offense looked hauntingly familiar on Sunday, it looked an awful lot like the Chiefs offensive scheme the last two seasons. The main issue was the Chiefs offense resembled….well, not the Chiefs we have seen for the last two seasons. At -11, the Chiefs are tied for most turnovers in the NFL. Many of those turnovers have been as the Chiefs were driving for a come from behind scoring drive.
Those turnovers have directly cost two wins and 6 points with the pick 6 on Sunday. Still, Mahomes leads the league with touchdown passes with 16. Imagine if this offense played more efficiently with a few fewer turnovers? It is nice to think about, but it isn’t reality. The reality is this team is a mess.
There are no answers coming from the roster and barring a huge splash trade (maybe a WR for a DL or LB) this is what the team has to work with. So, it comes to scheme and so far, where are the adjustments? The answer lies in the coaching and so far, there are no answers from this staff. Andy Reid’s play-calling has been awful, the attempts to establish a ground game have proven a liability up to this point. Now we add Edwards-Helaire to IR. It seems like there is almost an arrogance that this team will run their scheme regardless of the defense and what they are giving the Chiefs. Combine that with a frustrated PM 15 and you get this season’s offense.
The defense has fared no better in the coaching department. Nor does the answer appear to be on the present roster. With the financial investment the Chiefs have on the D-line alone, the lack of performance is staggering. This is not a defense that is finishing the season on a run to the playoffs. With some solid offenses and QBs left on the schedule, where are the “get right” games? After the defense allowed the Eagles to run buckshot for 461 yards, what QB is there real confidence in them shutting down?
Daniel Sorensen. Ugh. Dirty Dan gave up two plays and one touchdown, totaling 114 yards against Buffalo. As a long-time football fan, I am not sure I have ever watched a player fail on such a level. And by the reaction of Tyrann Mathieu, he hadn’t either. Thank you, Dirty Dan, for your past efforts, the stop on the fake point against Houston in the playoffs was huge, now please turn in your playbook.
Spags seems unwilling to shake up the defensive secondary. At this point, what does he have to lose? His job? If the defense continues on their present historically bad pace, the loss of his job seems inevitable. How about Devon Key? And what did Juan Thornhill do to anger Spags that he can’t unseat Sorensen? The defense has been unable to adjust and they have made every opposing QB they have faced look like the second coming of, well, Patrick Mahomes.
This team is not destined to “take it back” or make the playoffs with performances like those put in against Baltimore, L.A., and Buffalo. Those are playoffs teams, two of them coming into Arrowhead and leaving with the “W.” What seems inevitable, missing the playoffs should not be a surprise. With a Super Bowl hangover, lack of evolving with opposing teams adjusting, and little consideration for the defense in the off-season, the writing was on the wall.
Chiefs Kingdom can’t be too upset either, there haven’t been too many true dynasties in NFL history nor do many teams return to three consecutive Super Bowls. We were all getting ahead of ourselves. Call it winning fatigue or a hangover, one thing is clear after 5 weeks, this team is not performing like a Super Bowl contender or even a playoff-caliber team. So, likely more than not, the Chiefs are watching the playoffs just like the rest of us, from our living rooms. Don’t be mad, you can always re-watch Super Bowl 54.